Decorating and Upcycling Ideas with Milk Glass

Decorating and Upcycling Ideas with Milk Glass

Over the years, I’ve thrifted a modest collection of milk glass pieces. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to pass up an interesting vase, compote, or lacy dish if the price is right. And I know I’m not the only one- there are a lot of milk glass aficionados out there! So, if you’ve been looking for some decorating and upcycling inspiration for your own milk glass collection, then you’ve come to the right place.

Thrifting for Milk Glass

vintage milk glass at a thrift store

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

When it comes to analyzing milk glass, there are lots of different makers and styles out there. Names such as hobnail, paneled grape, and reticulated lace will come up when you’re researching a piece that you’ve found. And while they vary in value, authenticity, and even color, all that matters is that you’ve found a new milk glass treasure for a thrifty price. But now what?

Well, I’m so glad you asked…

Assembled Centerpiece

mismatched collection of milk glass vases

Image credit: Postcards from the Ridge.

One of the most delightful aspects of milk glass is how well the different designs and styles work together. Assembling a mismatched collection of vases with different patterns in varying sizes creates a stunningly simple centerpiece like this. While there isn’t any upcycling involved here, it’s just a reminder that collecting different vases to use together can have a delightful impact.

The Hidden Pin Cushion

avon milk glass candy dish

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A covered dish like this Avon milk glass candy dish is ideal for this simple upcycling idea. Turning the lid into a pin cushion is a fresh new way to put that milk glass to good reuse. And what a fun DIY gift idea for your family and friends that love to sew.

Jewelry Organizers

milk glass for jewelry organization

Image credit: Craft-o-Maniac and 700 N Cottage.

There are a lot of upcycling ideas out there for jewelry storage and organization. But this one is extra special because it repurposes all sorts of milk glass vases and dishes! Stacking bangles on vases, gathering brooches in bowls, and dangling earrings on scalloped edges has never looked lovelier.

Milk Glass Planter

milk glass compote dish as a succulent pot

Image credit: House of Hawthornes.

OF COURSE there’s going to be a planter in this collection, because why not? Especially in a compote dish- those footed bowls are ideal for it, aren’t they? And the verdant greens look striking against the bright white glass.

Of course, I would have to use fake succulents or plants if I did this because I have a lousy record when it comes to houseplants. But real or fake, either would look gorgeous.

Easter Decor

Decorating with hobnail milk glass for Easter

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

When it comes to seasonal decor, milk glass is pretty universal- it really goes with all the holidays and seasons. But since green looks so striking with the white, these hobnail dishes were perfect for this temporary craft project. Easter grass with colorful eggs is about as cute as it gets in Spring, eh?

Milk Glass Lamp Refresh

giving a milk glass lamp a refresh

Image credit: Virginia Sweetpea.

An old milk glass lamp can, admittedly, look outdated in a lot of homes. But in the right setting, and with a quick refresh like this, it looks quite charming. The secret is giving those metal parts a gleaming “zhuzh”.

Hot Cocoa Topping Station

condiment set in a card catalog drawer

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

This quick little project was inspired by a Pottery Barn condiment set. And while the original featured mason jars for burger toppings, this version used milk glass creamers and goblets. The milky white glass was perfect for winter time and holding all sorts of fun mix-ins for a simple hot cocoa bar.

Embellished Vases

decorating milk glass vases with vintage jewelry

Image credit: Jennifer Rizzo.

Milk glass vases are lovely on their own…but then again, a little embellishment never hurt anyone, either. And in this case, vintage jewelry was used to add colorful and gorgeous flair to the vases. What a wonderful way to marry two thrifted finds together into one stunning project.

Milk Glass Candle

milk glass candle

Image credit: Domestically Speaking.

You can make simple, easy candles in a shocking number of vessels- so why not use milk glass? What a fun new way to give a small, unassuming vase a fresh new purpose. Not only is this easy to make, but it would be ideal as a handmade gift, as well.

Winter Decor

Winter decorating ideas from the thrift store

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Speaking of milk glass being timeless (calendar-wise), here it is as part of a wintery display. Paired up with clear glass and tarnished silver (and pewter), it’s perfect to use for your post-holiday decor needs in January and February.

Craft Storage

organizing craft supplies in vintage milk glass

Image credit: Postcards from the Ridge.

Arts and crafts supplies can easily get out of hand, can’t they? Brushes, markers, scissors, buttons- the list goes on and on. But look how fun this idea is! Pairing up the right supplies with the perfect piece of vintage milk glass turns your storage into a display, of sorts.

DIY Tiered Tray

stacking footed bowls like a tiered tray

Image credit: Lora Bloomquist.

Tiered trays have been on trend now for quite a while, and you can recreate that effect with a trio of footed milk glass bowls like this. A little museum gel can help keep them in place, allowing you to fill them with all sorts of seasonal decor.

Sewing Scissor Holder

old colony milk glass dish

Image credit: Flamingo Toes.

For sewing enthusiasts, this upcycle idea is a twofer- a pin cushion AND a sewing scissor holder! A vintage milk glass compote or pedestal dish in the “Old Colony” design like this is perfect for it. The lace edge is an ideal place to dunk small scissors through and the center is begging to become a pin cushion.

Seasonal Milk Glass Vases

st. patrick's day decorations with vintage milk glass

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Maybe St. Patrick’s Day isn’t a holiday that needs a lot of decorating. Which is perfectly fine because these embellishments are completely temporary! But specific milk glass vases from my collection were ideal for this short-term decorating idea and I can swap things out throughout the year.

Decorating and Upcycling Ideas for Milk Glass

winter aesthetic

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

When you think about it, the versatility of vintage milk glass is pretty impressive. And while its popularity surges and wanes like just about anything else, it still remains a collectible for many of us. AND you can still regularly find it on thrift store shelves- for variable prices, of course.

Either way, I hope these ideas have given you all sorts of inspiration for the pieces in your own collection. Maybe I’ll see you out thrifting for new pieces, as well- we just have to promise not to fight over them!

Craft on!


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decorating ideas for vintage milk glass

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.

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